• Queensland plans to set up 3 REZs, calling them North Queensland, Central Queensland and South West Queensland
  • It is now seeking interested companies to share details of their projects, location and their timeline to assess the availability of resources on the grid and encourage industrial demand
  • The government is putting in AUD 145 million to develop the 3 REZs, to be complemented by AUD 500 million from the State Treasurer

In order to position itself as an investment destination and to kickstart the state’s economy towards recovery post suffering hopefully the most severe impacts of COVID-19, Queensland in Australia aims to set up 3 renewable energy zones (REZ). It has now called out for renewable energy companies to register their interest for the Queensland REZ (QREZ).

The 3 REZs will be set up by the state government for an investment of AUD 145 million ($106 million) in North Queensland, Central Queensland and South West Queensland. While the registration for interest is related to general information about the eligible projects, location and benefits it can bring in for local area, the government will collate it to guide its initial planning, design, location, scale, scope and timing of the potential QREZ development.

Among eligible renewable energy technologies under the QREZ are solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, storage and combination of these.

“These zones will coordinate and foster renewable development in the most suitable areas of Queensland by supporting the delivery of transmission infrastructure,” said Queensland Premier Annastacis Palaszczuk. “As well, these zones will attract industrial energy users to create more jobs in regional Queensland.”

Last date for interested companies to respond to this call is September 25, 2020, post which the government will undertake a separate consultation towards the end of 2020 through which it will ascertain how to best manage electricity load and attract industrial demand to specific QREZ areas. Registration details are available on the website of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

Since 2015, the government shared, the state has seen the launch of 41 large-scale renewable energy projects representing around AUD 7.8 billion ($5.7 billion) in investment. Earlier this month, the state Treasurer announced an AUD 500 million ($367 million) Renewable Energy Fund (REF) for state-owned energy corporations to increase public ownership of commercial renewable projects and supporting infrastructure.

“The fund will complement our AUD 145 million commitment to establish three renewable energy zones to foster jobs and growth in regional Queensland,” said state Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham.

Apart from Queensland, the state of New South Wales (NSW) has already started work on 3 planned REZ. For the 1st REZ—Central-West REZ Pilot—it has received 27 GW in response to 3 GW offered. The 2nd REZ—New England REZ—it has called for 8 GW of renewable energy capacity, and the 3rd REZ has been named South-West REZ which is yet to be launched (see 8 GW New England RE Zone In New South Wales).